Spring Has Sprung With An Abundance of Winter Annual Weeds
Posted: March 15, 2012
Flooding rains washed away mulch and weakened turf areas, exposing bare soil. With a warm winter and very little snow cover, winter annuals are off to a booming start!
Remember, winter annuals can germinate from fall to early spring, and form a rosette of leaves at the soil surface that is pretty cold tolerant. Most send up a flower head very early in the spring when temperatures get back into the 40’s and 50’s, so many are blooming now.
Management options include refreshing mulch to cover bare ground in the fall; repairing turf damage from traffic or pests by overseeding turf areas in the fall; making an application of a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall. These measures taken in the fall are aimed at reducing the number of winter annuals that can germinate. Put a note on your calendar to manage for winter annuals next fall.
It isn't too late to treat now. You can still manually remove these little devils before the seeds mature. Or use a selective broadleaf weed herbicide in turf areas, especially ester formulations or other “cool weather” selections. The flowers are out there, and soon they’ll be seeding, so don’t wait for your normal scheduled applications.
During late spring, warm temperatures cause winter annuals to fade away, but not before the seeds drop in preparation for next fall’s crop. Don’t let them fade from your memory! We see more and more of these species each year!